The biggest upset of day one in the CR Land BWF Superseries Finals was the loss of top seed Lee Chong Wei against Du Pengyu. The Malaysian is suffering from a quadricep injury and has announced his withdrawal from the competition.
By Renee Yang, Badzine Correspondent live in Shenzhen. Photos: Arthur Van Der Velde for Badmintonphoto (live)
Very few people would bet on Du’s success before his match against the world number one started, as Lee Chong Wei (photo) holds a head to head record of 6-0 against Du. Also Du didn’t seem at his best and has had stamina problems recently as he had just lost twice to Wang Zhengming during the China Badminton Super League finals. (for more details, see here)
When the match started, Du seemed unable to keep pace with Lee’s speed and rhythm and Lee took the first game easily 21-12. In the second game, Lee slackened a bit too much and made some unforced errors while Du started to attack with fast speed to equalize the score and force the match to decider. In the deciding game, Du kept the way of attacking at the beginning but Lee quickly countered with his solid defending skills and led his rival to play at his rhythm. This tactic worked well and Du’s physical strength dropped after several long rallies, and he made several errors which gave Lee Chong Wei a 11-6 lead at the interval. But the Malaysian started making mistakes again, while Du leveled to 18-all. During the critical points, Du Pengyu (photo) showed great mental strength and a lot of determination which led him to win the match 12-21, 21-16, 22-20.
Two controversial judgments from the line judges went in favour of Du – one of which seemed to be correct from the replay on the large screen – but Lee showed some frustration. During the post-match interview, the Malaysian mentioned he was not in the right shape and complained about the tournament schedule: “I think the schedule of BWF is too dense. We have to play so many tournaments every year so it’s difficult for a player to play very well and be at his at his best in every match. In order to avoid punishment, we have to play, which may lead to injuries.
“My condition is different from Lin Dan. I’m much more hard-working than him as my pressure is bigger in Malaysia. Now I drafted a plan for myself to play until the Asian Games, then I’ll check my status and consider if I will continue to play until Olympic Games in Rio.”
Few minutes after his interview, Lee Chong Wei announced his withdrawal from the rest of the tournament, citing a right leg injury, leaving a clear path for Chen Long, the top seed of Group B, while Du Pengyu may have his success taken off the chart.
Meanwhile, in the first session, Boonsak Ponsana was beaten by Hu Yun 21-19, 17-21, 9-21. The main surprise in the mixed doubles came with the loss of Ahmad/Natsir to Prapakamol/Thoungthongkam of Thailand. In the women’s singles event, Li Xuerui (photo) came as the winner of the all Chinese affair against Wang Shixian (21-18 in the decider) and Sung Ji Hyun beat Eriko Hirose. Sung is the only Korean left as Jang Ye Na decided the ankle injury she sustained in the Korea Grand Prix Gold mixed doubles final would not permit her to play in Shenzhen and Kim Sa Rang also retired in his second men’s doubles game against Denmark’s Boe/Mogensen.
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